Davis, Rebels bracing for Hillcrest

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 31, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; Douglas Davis had a rough go during the regular season against Hillcrest Christian. The Cougars tagged him in a 10-5 win in that series opener against ace Joey Tackett, who did a number on Adams Christian.

But that was over a month ago.

Davis and the Rebels are playing much better now in the second round of the MPSA Class AAA playoffs than they were back in that late March series. The big right-hander will get the start in tonight’s game against a team that showed in back in March it can really hit the ball.

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&uot;I’m ready to play. I’m ready for (today),&uot; said Davis, the Meridian Community College signee. &uot;I feel like we’ll be a lot better. The defense will back me up a lot, and I don’t have to make the perfect pitch. It’ll be relaxed this time. It’s like everybody is loose, having fun and playing more like they can.

&uot;I think it’s going to be even as long as the defense is good and the pitching is good.&uot;

Based on the Rebels’ recent outings, that may be the order of the day today in the best-of-three series opener. They played well in the field, hit the ball well and got good pitching from Timmy Foster and Glenn Williams last week in their series win over North champion Jackson Academy.

It may have been just what the team needed &045; a confidence-booster in the worst way heading into the Class AAA state semifinals.

&uot;We’ve had just wonderful practices,&uot; AC head coach Gill Morris said. &uot;Our kids are in a great frame of mind. With us being the No. 4 seed, we’re just happy to be here. We’ve been laid back at practice and having a good time. I think we’re seeing that light at the end of the tunnel that was so far away in March. We feel fortunate to be one of the four triple-A teams still playing in May.&uot;

Morris, however, turned the Game 1 duties back to Davis, who got the nod during the regular season in series openers. In the Jackson Academy series, Morris went with sophomore Foster in Game 1 and Williams in Game 2. Davis came in relief in the second game and would have started the third game had the Raiders won.

But Davis will get the nod against a Hillcrest team that does a outstanding job of situational hitting.

&uot;Douglas is going to step up for us,&uot; Morris said. &uot;That was one of the game they touched him up a little bit. But being the pitcher that he is, I don’t have any qualms about putting him out there.&uot;

The Cougars got 10 hits and drew six walks that game, but the defense behind Davis was just as much to blame. The errors were costly in that contest &045; the entire series, in fact &045; and left Davis struggling to find a groove.

Game 2 of that series the Rebels had some errors but found a way to win, but in Game 3 they

Rebels fell 12-8 thanks to six errors.

&uot;We had some error problems the last time we played them,&uot; Davis said. &uot;But it should be a lot better. Here lately we haven’t had near as many errors as we had in district.&uot;